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Over the past five years, the University of Virginia has landed the top spot four times on The Princeton Review’s annual list of the “Best Value Public Colleges.”
The only school to displace UVA since 2009 has been Carolina, which last year was ranked No. 1.
For 2013, UNC dropped back a spot to second place, with Virginia retaking the lead among public colleges and universities in the U.S.
The rankings are based on data collected from fall 2011 through fall 2012 through institutional and student surveys. The data points cover academics, costs and financial aid, according to the website of The Princeton Review. The company said it also considers the percentage of graduating seniors who borrow from any loan program and the average debt those students have at graduation.
Following Virginia and Carolina were The New College of Florida, the College of William & Mary, the University of California at Los Angeles, N.C. State University, the University of Wisconsin, State University of New York at Binghamton, the University of Michigan and the University of Georgia.
Swarthmore College topped the list for private colleges; it was No. 2 on that list last year.
In 2011, UNC was ranked eighth among public colleges and universities; it was not ranked in Princeton’s top 10 in 2009 or 2010. In addition to 2012, Carolina previously held the No. 1 spot in 2004.
The “Best Value Colleges” list and profiles of the schools are available online.
In December, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine rated Carolina the No. 1 value in American public higher education for the 12th consecutive year.